Jessica Vosk, whose Broadway outings include The Bridges of Madison County, Fiddler on the Roof, and Finding Neverland, is currently back on The Great White Way starring in the international hit musical Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre, reprising the role of the green-skinned Elphaba that she played in the musical’s national tour to much acclaim. (The musical phenomenon by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman will celebrate 15 years on Broadway this month.) Vosk recently released her solo album Wild and Free, which soared to #29 on Billboard’s Independent Artists chart.
We recently asked Vosk, who also enjoys a thriving cabaret career, to recall the Broadway performances that most affected her as an audience member.
Laurie Metcalf in The Other Place
I am a devoted fan of Laurie, and this show absolutely threw me in every way possible. She is a master class to watch. I thought her interpretation of the work was absolutely stunning, and she took the audience with her through a particularly intense role.
The entire cast of this season's Angels in America
Angels has always been one of my favorite pieces of theatre. This particular incarnation was so moving. Just explaining the amazing set and choreography could take paragraphs. However, the nuanced acting from the entire company is what made this show feel completely relevant in 2018. No matter how outlandish something could come across, I found myself relating to small parts of every single character because of the skill and simplicity they took in making sure this play was treated with the utmost respect.
Danny Burstein in Fiddler on the Roof
Yes, I had the utmost pleasure of working with Danny on this revival in 2016. I had the luck of watching him create a Tevye from the rehearsal room to the stage. But make no mistake, I watched his performance nightly, and it never became a caricature like it could have. Danny has this spectacular way of making the audience feel like each person sitting there is the only person in the room. Like he was telling the story for the first time, every single time. Sharing the stage with a legend like that is something that I will always be grateful for. He taught me more in that year of my life than I can express.
I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor a few months ago in the role of Evan Hansen, and wow. I was blown away. Yes, it’s a helluva hard sing. But that’s just a small part of why he took my breath away. He approached the role with a simplicity that took me out of my own head and into the head of this high schooler for two-and-a-half hours. The acting skill is a treat to watch. As a performer, I can understand how incredibly hard it is to deal with that kind of journey nightly. But he knocked it out of the park. Every idiosyncratic thing he gave to Evan was superb.
Isabel Keating in The Boy from Oz
What is there to say about this woman? I have the honor of working with her nightly in Wicked, and she has become one of my favorite human beings to learn from. But above all that, the way she embodied everything about Judy Garland was expert and something that few can do. I actually believed that I was watching someone come back to life. Isabel has this way of taking on a character, whether real or fictional, that brings you completely into the world she has created. And you never want to leave.
Bernadette Peters in Hello, Dolly!
What can I say? She’s been an idol of mine for a long time now. However, I recently went back to see her take on Dolly Levi, and holy crap was I bowled over in a million ways. She was so real. Her chemistry with Victor Garber was a master class in listening. And the way she commands a stage without outwardly saying, "Oh, look, look at me" was impressive.
Bill is one of those people who I watch and say, “How does he do that?,” whether it is on film or onstage. I love improv and comedy, and I'll never forget seeing this show and wondering the whole time what moments were made up right on the spot versus carefully set. Those are the best kinds of performances for me. He was so incredibly funny and also extremely heartbreaking in the same turn. Something I strive to be able to do someday.
Robin de Jesús in In the Heights
Let’s be real. The show was and still is a phenomenon. But… the knockout, standout performance for me was this kid who seemed like he just walked off the street into a bodega and just lived his damn life. Everything was real, and the moments of self-deprecation within written lines of music just made me feel so alive and lucky to watch his performance.
First of all, this show was exquisite, in my opinion. The storytelling paired with a cast of incredible actors was just thrilling to watch. Jefferson absolutely blew me away. He was so smart, and his choices were so particular, it made me want to be a better actor. He made the story and world believable in ways that I didn’t think imaginable.